Carbon black functionalized stretchable conductive fabrics for wearable heating applications†
There is an increasing interest on robust electrically conductive textiles with light weight and flexibility to meet the applications in wearable electronics. Current challenge is to fabricate such structures with feasible application strategies that can be readily scalable and provide higher mechanical stability of the conductive media on the textile matrix to withstand constant stretch and shear forces. We report a strategy to address these challenges, by using a “screen printing process” employing conductive carbon black ink. We produced conductive fabrics with liner resistance of less than 71 Ω cm−1. These textile materials showed stable conductivity up to 25% strain. Microscopic studies revealed that at strains lower than 25%, percolation pathways in the conductive media increases resulting lowering of the liner resistance. However, further stretching of over 25% resulted increase of resistance due to separation of conductive pathways. Ohmic heating application of the resulted fabrics showed fast response rate and no significant hysteresis. The conductive print was stable over long period of heating over number of cycles. These feasible conductive fabric fabrication pathways can provide new avenues in designing and manufacturing of wearable heat management and electronic applications.